Best Vitamins & Dietary Supplements
Finding the right vitamins or supplements can be overwhelming. With the sheer length of a vitamins list, it can be easiest to grab the cheapest product on the shelf with the catchiest branding. Here are a few things to look out for before buying, so your body and your health can thank you later.
Happy Hormones · includes 3 listings
The Happy Hormones range can help maintain a healthy hormonal balance, largely using herbs and other natural ingredients.
- TargetsWomen's Health
The Happy Mammoth Prebiotic Collagen Protein is designed to improve gut health, skin health, energy levels and exercise performance.
- TargetsProbiotics & Superfoods
Using 9 medicinal plant extracts to relieve functional digestive symptoms, Iberogast can help you feel more comfortable after a meal.
Suited to a wide range of digestion issues
- TargetsDigestion & Detox
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Latest review: I was looking for something natural to help with the over all wretchedness of being 42. My monthlys pass with barely a symptom these days. No more migraines, severe cramps, extreme up and down
Are vitamins a waste of money?
If you're asking this question, you're definitely not alone. It's on lots of peoples' minds. Perhaps unsurprising; considering the influx of brands and products available on supermarket and pharmacy shelves, promising to do wonders for your health.
Generally, since most essential vitamins and minerals are found naturally in food, eating a healthy, balanced diet is often recommended by doctors as the best way to get your fill of nutritional requirements. This should be supplemented with regular exercise and keeping well hydrated.
However, sometimes getting everything your body needs through your diet just this isn't possible. This may be due to a busy lifestyle, or dietary or lifestyle choices that make you sick of hearing the recommendation to 'eat lean meat.' In these cases, taking a vitamin or supplement can be a quick and easy way to get what your body needs in order to stay healthy and have the vitality it deserves.
Who needs supplements?
Taking a supplement may be beneficial for you in the following instances:
- Vitamin deficiency: If you've recently had a blood test and discovered you're low in a particular vitamin or mineral, taking what you need in a tablet or supplement form can help get your health back on track.
- Problems with absorbing nutrients: As we age, our bodies naturally find it more difficult to absorb all the nutrients from food. In this case, taking a vitamin can help make up the difference for what your body isn't absorbing to full effect.
- Medical conditions or ailments: may make it neccessary to take a supplement. For example, people with osteoporosis often take calcium citrate, which helps to increase their bone density.
- Vegetarians or vegans: People practicing these diets or lifestyles can often benefit from a B12 supplement, along with iron, Vitamin D and, sometimes, Omega-3 fatty acids. Look for alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which comes from plant oils, rather than EPA and DHA, which comes primarily from fish.
- : Vitamins can definitely help here, but make sure to consult your GP and read any labels carefully to ensure that a product is safe to take for you.
Always follow the recommended dosage on the tub or package, and consult a GP about the dosage that's right for you specifically.
This can be helpful and important even for something as straightforward as a daily multivitamin.
You can still experience a bad reaction from 'overdosing' on vitamins - especially with . Since these types of vitamins are stored in the body, excess consumption can cause negative side effects. For example, taking excessive Vitamin A can cause headaches, joint pain and liver damage. If you're pregnant, it can even harm a fetus.
What vitamins do I need daily?
Your exact daily vitamin intake requirements will depend on individual factors such as age, gender, any health conditions or requirements. This is why a GP check-up and blood test is a good starting point.
However, all other things being equal, here are the essential vitamins and minerals recognised by health professionals, which you need daily. These vitamins and minerals collectively play an important role in helping the body carry out natural processes.
This includes converting food into energy, as well as regulating metabolism, helping maintain healthy brain function and nerve function, keeping muscles strong and healthy, and forming collagen.
What are the 13 essential vitamins?
Since these are dissolvable in water, your body can't store them for very long. Any excess vitamins just pass through the system; so your body takes what it needs, and expels the rest. Exceptions are B12 and folate, which the liver is capable of storing.
Since the human body doesn't naturally produce water-soluble vitamins, a supplement may be required if you're not getting enough of these vitamins in your diet. They're best absorbed on an empty stomach, so the morning is probably the best time to take these vitamins.
These are absorbed into your body via the consumption of healthy fats. As a result, absorption is at its prime when you take these with a meal or snack that contains at least 5 grams of fat. This may seem counter-intuitive if you're trying to be healthy, but it could be as simple as having a few slices of smashed avo on toast with some butter.
Since these vitamins are stored in your body, stick strictly to the recommended dosage.
Vitamin B1 or thiamine
Vitamin A or retinol
Vitamin B2 or riboflavin
Vitamin B3 or niacinimide
Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid
Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine
Vitamin B7 or biotin
Vitamin B9 or folate
Vitamin B12 or coblamin
Vitamin C or absorbic acid
How many essential minerals are there?
There are also 16 essential minerals your body needs. These are: calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, iodine, selenium, molybdenum, chromium, and fluoride.
If you’re looking to give your general health a boost, an all-in-one women’s multivitamin may do the trick. Choosing a blend that's especially designed for women in your particular age bracket is beneficial.
This is because women and men have different nutritional requirements, and a women’s multivitamin is likely to have higher levels of iron and folate in it.
Your age and circumstances also affect how many milligrams of each vitamin should be present in a multivitamin. For example, female kids aged 9-12 require a lower ‘dosage’ of each vitamin, which increases slightly when they're teenagers. Then, from 19-50 years, the recommended vitamin dosage for women tends to be the same. Older women 50 years and over require higher levels of Vitamin B6, folate, Vitamin B12, biotin, choline, and iodine.
Iron is important as it helps the body produce red blood cells, boosts immunity, assists with cognitive development and carries oxygen around the body.
Women are particularly susceptible to having iron deficiency as regular blood loss while having monthly periods depletes iron in the body. An iron deficiency, or anaemia, reduces the amount of red blood cells your body produces. This often translates to physical symptoms like fatigue, lower immunity, and even shortness of breath.
If you're picking up a packet of iron tablets from the chemist, you might need some Vitamin C, too. Iron needs Vitamin C to be properly absorbed into the blood, and if you'd rather go natural, you can get simply get your dose by eating a kiwi fruit or orange, or drinking a cool glass of OJ.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
It’s often recommended for women who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or who are of child-bearing age, to take a folate supplement, as there is evidence to show that folate can help protect the foetus from neural defects.
Hormonal changes can be due to: normal reproductive development stages for women, such as puberty, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause. They can also be caused by changes to diet, mineral and water intake, stress levels, as well as inflammation and infection, or while taking the contraceptive pill.
These changes to the body can cause several unpleasant effects, such as digestive issues, cramps, lethargy and mood fluctuations. Finding the right supplement for your body may help.
General hormonal imbalance and your period: B vitamins such as Vitamin B6 can assist with regulating mood, particularly to do with pre-menstrual stress. Magnesium, probiotics, liver-enhancing nutrients, Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D3 may also be helpful. Natural ingredients that may provide some relief include black cohosh, dong quai, red clover, and evening primrose oil.
For menopausal symptoms the following may help: Magnesium, calcium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E. There are also . These may not be as natural as vitamins and minerals, but if they provide you some much-needed relief, could be worth it.
If you take the pill regular usage will reduce your progesterone levels. This can cause stress, unstable mood, irregular periods and spotting. In the worst case scenarios, it can cause infertility or miscarriages. Vitamins or minerals that may be able to help include Vitamin B6, magnesium, zinc, Vitamin E, fibre and sulphur.
Along with the 13 essential vitamins and 16 essential minerals listed above for both men and women, the following vitamins and minerals are particularly important to men's health.
Magnesium is essential for bone strength, muscle and nerve function, and energy production. It'll help with both exercise performance and recovery, and used in conjunction with Vitamin D, will support muscle contractions.
This multi-purpose mineral is also beneficial for male fertility, as it boosts free testerone levels, when aided by regular exercise.
And if these weren't enough benefits, magnesium is also good for your pearly whites, and helps you get a better sleep. It's needed for melatonin - an important hormone that regulates your sleep cycle - to work properly.
Chelated magnesium is more absorbable form than regular magnesium.
Folate, or Vitamin B9, is important to both men and women. It helps your body use protein, makes and repairs DNA, and produces red blood cells. It can also increase sperm count and prevent unhealthy changes in sperm, which is good news for men's fertility. Folate has also been linked to improvements in cardiovascular health, and may also help with low mood.
Methylated folate is a type of folate that's more suited to men. Some men can't absorb the folic acid that women often take, due to a genetic variation called MTHFR that only men can have.
Zinc plays an important role in making proteins in the body. It also aids in healthy testosterone and prolactin production, the metabolisation of nutrients and healthy immunity by helping to keep infection at bay.
As natural sources of zinc in food mainly come from meat and seafood, if you're a veg man it can be hard getting your required amount of zinc from your food. As a result, a zinc supplement may help.
The risk of men developing prostrate cancer greater increases after age 50. There is evidence to suggest that regularly taking Vitamin E may help protect against prostrate cancer in men, and there is some evidence to suggest that zinc deficiencies have been linked to a higher incidence of prostrate cancer. For older men, enlargement of the prostrate (known as BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia) can be common, and vitamin C can reduce chances of developing this.
These are essentially live bacteria help to increase the number of good bacteria in the gut. Probiotics have been found to assist with weight loss, boost immunity, reduce immunity, help with mood, and boost protein aborption. They can work well when taken with digestive enzymes, which perform a separate function in helping break down nutrients in food. They're easy to take, as you can just add them to your .
While the ideal way to get all essential vitamins and minerals is through your diet, this isn't always possible. When this happens, taking a vitamin or mineral in supplement form can often be helpful. Factors like your age, gender, stage of life (such as pregnancy or menopause), and any conditions (such as osteoporisis or diabetes) may affect the type of vitamins or supplements you need or would like.
If you're unsure what would be helpful, you can see a GP and also read real-to-life reviews on ProductReview.com.au, to help guide you in the right direction.